May 20, 2022

Citation Analysis: The Top 10 Most Cited Scholarly Papers About The Beatles

To celebrate the 5oth anniversary* of The Beatles  the team at Web of Science (a Thomson Reuters product) have just published a list (with abstracts) of the Top 10 most cited academic/scholarly papers about the band. The list is appears in a Science Watch article titled, “I Read The Academic Journal Today, Oh Boy”.

Here’s a bit about how the list was compiled:

The selection gathers 10 papers out of roughly 500 resulting from a search on “Beatles” as a “topic” or “title” word. (For good measure, the search employed the Web of Science’s “all years” option, covering literature as far back as 1864—a good 90 years before that quietly momentous day on which teenaged John Lennon and Paul McCartney were introduced to one another at the St. Peter’s Church fete in Woolton parish.)

The papers were primarily selected, and are listed, on the basis of their influence as denoted by citations—that is, the number of subsequent publications in which the work has been explicitly footnoted. The numbers here are generally modest, in keeping with the tendency of works in the social sciences and the arts and humanities to be cited at a markedly lower and slower rate than that for papers in more populous and prolific fields such as biology or physics. Relatively speaking, however, given that the average citation rate for the initial selection of reports is less than one per paper (i.e., many have not yet been cited at all), these papers have made a mark.

An article titled, “Memorabeatlia — A naturalistic study of long-term memory,” by I.E. Hyman & D.C. Rubin tops the list. The article was published in  Memory & Cognition, 18 (2): 205-14, 1990.

You can access the complete Top 10 list (with abstracts) here.

* On a related note, today (February 11) marks the 50th anniversary of the first live concert by The Beatles in the U.S. It took place at the Washington Coliseum in Washington, DC. Here’s a gallery of photos from the concert that were posted on today.

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.